Craig Bellamy’s second half goal ensured the reds would returned to contest their first final in 5 years, and with it ensure Dalglish’s first full season of charge will involve a trip to Wembley.
The Liverpool manager last led the club to Wembley 23 years ago – twice in 1989, in the months following the Hillsborough disaster.
Liverpool and Man City both had players missing from their ranks, but the reds were by far the better side. City scored with their only two shots on target, but it was Joe Hart who pulled off a couple of world class saves, to go along with those he made in the first leg.
In the continuing absence of Lucas Leiva, Kenny changed the midfield so that Adam, Henderson and Gerrard were in there – switching away from the 4 in the middle which worked so poorly at the weekend. Kuyt got the nod for the right wing, while Downing on the left and Bellamy up front completed the forward line.
Just as against Bolton, Bellamy was the beacon for the reds – working tirelessly and a constant thorn in the side of City’s shaky defence.
An error by Kolarov early on, saw Enrique at the edge of the six yard box – his slice at the ball was stopped by the legs of Joe Hart, before the rebounded landed at Stewart Downing’s feet. The former Villa man fired high and wide.
Charlie Adam attempted a shot from distance but it was weak and easily stopped. Liverpool had a number of corners in the first half – but they were struggling to beat the first man in the City backline.
Man City should have had a penalty when Charlie Adam clumsily tripped one of his opponents in the penalty box.
Against the run of play Nigel De Jong fired a fine shot from outside the box, taking advantage of Reina being off his line, and it sailed towards the top corner. The City fans awoke from their slumber and the tie was level.
But within 10 minutes and as half time was approaching some decent Liverpool possession resulted in a penalty. With Agger loose in the penalty area Micah Richards dived in outstretching his hands to stop the ball with whatever means he could. As it was Agger’s shot hit his legs first before his arms but it was clear the intention from Richards was to use his arms to help block the ball.
Steven Gerrard duly despatched the penalty in to the bottom corner and the reds were back in the driving seat.
Man City removed their comedy defender Savic at half time, bringing on Sergio Aguero.
It made little difference early on as Liverpool continued to dominate. Pressure from Liverpool corners was building and when Downing turned and fired in, Joe Hart performed yet another magnificent save to tip over. This was moments after a great save he made from Skrtel.
Hart’s form inspired a City counter, and Johnson got caught in no mans lands, leaving Gerrard to chase Kolarov down the wing. The midfielder couldn’t stop his cross which Dzeko scored with, yet again against the run of play.
The reds didn’t take long to get their noses back in front, when Johnson and Kuyt were involved, before setting up Bellamy to despatch coolly into the Kop goal.
The final 20 minutes were relatively incident free. City had a spell of possession but failed to create any chances with it – in the end the reds closed the game out in Man City’s half as they head to their 11th League Cup final, hoping to add to their record 7 trophies in the competition.